Megyn Kelly Confronts Ben Shapiro on Candace Owens Ouster and ‘Free Speech’

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A week after The Daily Wire parted ways with far-right pundit Candace Owens amid her lengthy public feud with the site’s co-founder Ben Shapiro, Megyn Kelly asked Shapiro if the ouster of the MAGA provocateur was proof that his publication is only about free speech “until it comes to Israel.”

Owens’ exit from the right-wing media empire came after months of increasing tension between her and Shapiro over the war in Gaza. The animosity between the two began heating up in November when Shapiro tore into Owens’ “disgraceful” comments on Israel committing “genocide,” prompting her to traffic in antisemitic “dual loyalty” tropes about Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew.

Days before her ouster, Owens liked a social-media post accusing a famous rabbi of being “drunk on Christian blood,” an overt reference to the antisemitic “blood libel” canard—generating even more controversy. She also peddled other antisemitic tropes when she complained about a Jewish “gang” in Hollywood.

During Monday’s broadcast of SiriusXM’s The Megyn Kelly Show, Kelly engaged in a lengthy and extremely friendly chat with Shapiro, largely focused on his about-face regarding Donald Trump and criticism of the NBC News firing of Ronna McDaniel.

Towards the end of the interview, however, Kelly finally broached the subject of Candace Owens.

“I know it’s a subject you probably don’t want to discuss, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least go there. She left, it made tons of news. The right loves to eat its own, so they loved this,” the former Fox News star noted.

“But I’m sure that whole thing was rather unpleasant. It’s now spun into a debate about whether The Daily Wire is pro-free speech,” Kelly continued. “The accusation is you are until it comes to Israel. How do you respond?”

Shapiro insisted that the Owens exit had nothing to do with a disagreement over the war in Gaza, claiming that he also “wildly disagrees” with Daily Wire host Matt Walsh on America’s policy towards Israel. “So clearly whatever is going on is not about Israel specifically,” he added. “That’s really all I have to say about it.”

In terms of free speech, Shapiro contrasted his publication with social-media companies, claiming there’s a difference between platforms banning users and media outlets firing employees.

“As far as the free speech of it, as I’ve said before, The Daily Wire is a publisher, not a platform. I would never call for anyone to be ousted from an actual platform, X, YouTube,” he stated. “Even people who I think are absolutely horrific human beings, I’ve never called for any of them to be ousted. In fact, I’ve called for them to have their accounts restored if they’ve been banned.

Shapiro continued: “That’s not the same thing when it comes to publishers. Publishers obviously have to decide what sort of things they wish to pay for the publication of and when it comes to hosts and publishers parting ways, obviously, there will be a non-meeting of the minds. That’s pretty much all I can say on that.”

Kelly, meanwhile, joked that “this is why I don’t go into business with anybody else,” perhaps referring to her infamous split with NBC News. “This why I like to just be on my own little island here,” she added. (Notably, Kelly recently signed a multi-year deal with SiriusXM to host her daily podcast.)

“It’s good to have partnerships. I love working with The Daily Wire, and I’ve never found you guys anything other than pro-free speech and the defense of it,” Kelly concluded. “That doesn’t mean you have to be in business, as you point out, with people no matter what they say. And I think Candace will do fine on her own, it wasn’t a good match. I, for one, applaud the separation for a number of reasons.”

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

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